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Howard Stutz

Mississippi turns to casinos to fund gaming regulators

29 March 2010

JACKSON, Mississippi -- Mississippi's gaming regulatory structure will be self-funded through fees paid by the gaming industry it oversees.

The Mississippi Gaming Commission has filed a proposed fee structure with Secretary of State for a 30-day review.

The gaming industry will pay to regulate itself through fees assessed for licensing, work permits, inspections and equipment, gaming commission executive director Larry Gregory told the Biloxi Sun-Herald.

Commissioners are expected to vote on the fee structure sometime in May.

The move to industry-driven funding was contained in a bill signed Wednesday by Gov. Haley Barbour. The bill required the Gaming Commission to set fees at a level that will allow it to do its job without using any money from the state budget.

Last month during the special legislative session, Nevada lawmakers proposed a fee structure where Nevada gaming licensees would pay a fee to fund the $32 million annual budget for the state's Gaming Control Board.

Casino industry lobbyists killed the plan, saying there wasn't consensus amongst gaming licensees. Also, lobbyists said the casino industry had already paid enough this year to fund the state budget.

Nevada served as the model for much of Mississippi's gaming laws and regulatory structure.